With land and property prices rising inexorably and high-rise developments replacing traditional houses, gardens are disappearing at an alarming rate. The solution to our vanishing green spaces might be to go vertical.
The American university professor Stanley Hart White patented the vertical garden in 1938.
His idea was developed in the 1980s by French botanist Patrick Blanc to create the modern green wall using hydroponic irrigation. Green walls are now everywhere in offices, shopping centres, hospitals, restaurants, public buildings, and infrastructure.
The Euro 500,000, 350-metre Marsa-Hamrun bypass green wall created with 27,000 plants contributed significantly to Malta's national urban greening effort. Subsequently, further government-funded and much-needed projects have been completed or are in development.
Adding live plants and greenery to a residential property, office, hotel, or apartment balcony can be affordable and easily installed. Exterior vertical gardens often contain moss, vines, and other hardy plants. While exposed to the elements, the plants benefit from natural sunlight and will thrive throughout the year with appropriate irrigation.
Exterior vertical gardens insulate a building from temperature fluctuations using evapotranspiration to help cool the air around them. Unlike brick and concrete walls, green surfaces don't store the sun, energy in the daytime and release it at night-time in the same way.